Cultural Round Trips -- Istanbul and the Black Sea Coast

 

Day 1: Arrival
Flight from chosen airport to Istanbul. Greeting at the airport by the tour guide. Transfer to the hotel. Dinner and accommodation in Istanbul.

Day 2: Istanbul, 'On Two Continents'
Today, guests will undertake an in-depth tour of the city of Istanbul. The majority of sights are to be found on the European side of the city or the former Old Town. We kick off at Topkapı Palace, which was the primary residence of the family of the Ottoman Sultans. From this palace, the Sultans ruled over a vast Empire, which was the second largest in the world, behind the Roman Empire. Today visitors can admire the 100,000 exhibits. The palace’s Imperial Treasury is of particular interest. A visit to the Hagia Sophia, the most important example of Byzantine architecture dating back to the 6th century, is of course included in the programme. Opposite the Hagia Sophia stands the magnificent Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque. Right next to it can be found the famous Hippodrome of Constantinople from the 3rd century, where major events were held. Dinner and accommodation in Istanbul.

Day 3: Istanbul – Bolu / Akçakoca approx. 240 km ‚ 'Famous…'
After breakfasting together we will travel across the Bosphorus Bridge connecting Europe with Asia, in the direction of İzmit and then on to Bolu. On the way we will visit the famous Lake Abant. Amidst this wonderful natural setting we will undertake a hike of medium difficulty. Then we will continue onwards to Bolu. Here we will take a short walk around the town and visit the Great Mosque (the Ulu Mosque). Dinner and accommodation in Bolu or Akçakoca.

Day 4: Bolu / Akçakoca – Amasra – Safranbolu approx. 250 km , 'In the…'
Today we will travel through beautiful, green countryside to Amasra. Amasra is a small but pretty harbour town. We will take a tour of Amasra Castle and will pay a visit to one of the famous wood carving workshops, which are carrying on the tradition in this town. Then we will continue onwards to Safranbolu. Safranbolu is famous for its pretty Ottoman houses, which have been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A tour of the town and its beautiful houses. Dinner and accommodation in Safranbolu or Kastamonu.

Day 5: Safranbolu - Kastamonu – Sinop – Samsun approx. 310 km ‚ 'The Philosopher in the Barrel'
Today we travel onwards along the coast of the Black Sea, to Sinop. Tour of Sinop and this port city's ancient castle. The journey continues along the coast to Samsun, one of this region's largest cities. Dinner and accommodation in Samsun.

Day 6: Samsun – Trabzon approx. 340 km ‚ 'Small Kingdom of the Pontic Greeks'
After breakfasting together we will travel along the coast to Trabzon. Our tour programme will include the following sights: a visit to the Hagia Sophia Museum (formerly a church), Trabzon Castle and Semerciler Carsısı, Trabzon’s former trading centre. If circumstances allow, guests may of course also embark on their own tour of the city. Dinner and accommodation in Trabzon.

Day 7: Trabzon – Sümela Monastery approx. 160 km ‚ 'Crowned Heads'
After breakfasting together we will head in the direction of the mountains. The famous Sümela Monastery is included in our tour programme. We will start the tour by climbing up to the cliff face in the Pontic Mountains where Sümela was built in the 13th century. Emperor Alexios III Angelos was crowned in this same monastery. The climb's difficulty rating is high. Then we will return to Trabzon, where the Atatürk Museum features on the tour programme. Dinner and accommodation in Trabzon.

Day 8: Depart Trabzon – Istanbul
Transfer to the airport and return flight.

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